I once heard charisma defined as the ability to transform an inanimate place into an intimate space. Few people possess this extraordinary gift. Examples of charismatic people include Obama, Bill Clinton, mega-church pastors and celebrities.
Even fewer people possess charisma in one-on-one settings. Most politicians, pastors and celebrities only exude charisma when they are entertaining large groups of people.
I'm sure you have experienced disappointment when meeting these charismatic people up close and personal. But I'm also sure that if you were pressed to name a person that brings intimacy into a room with their very presence (some may use the description- a person who is "comfortable in their own skin") you could name someone immediately.
This rare gift of charisma cannot be manufactured, however I do think most of us can do a better job exuding charismatic qualities.
For instance, most of the people that have a "larger-than-life" personality in the blogosphere and twittersphere are generally disappointing to meet in real life. They are addicted to their toys and do not function well in the real world with real people. One such person told me that his online persona was not the "real" him. I agree.
A challenge: Let's be present where we are.
A Pet Peeve
It is a personal major pet peeve to be in a social situation with a person who is always peering into his or her iPhone or Blackberry screen. I instantly intuit that this person: (A) has no social skills (B) does not give a damn about me and the others with them or (C) is extremely rude.
I'm not talking about Twittering occasionally or excusing oneself to take an urgent call or a call from a family member. I am talking about total absence for a period of time when with others.
I have developed a habit of turning my iPhone screen over when I sit down with someone for a lunch or coffee meeting. I do not want the text, e-mails, twitters and calls to intefere with the sacrament of our time together.
Remember, a charismatic person makes you feel like you are special. They make you FEEL (they don't TELL you) that you leave their presence a better person than when you entered.